In order to run a successful business, you’ll need to have a variety of skills and commercial acumen including; good understanding of the basics of running a business, having a clear marketing strategy, a focus on excellent customer service, good people management and organisational skills.
You also might create a business plan that sets out your business goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) so you clearly define what the ‘picture of success’ looks like.
How to define success
It is important to define what you think success means, so you can know what you want to attain. A business can be successful by employing a great team, continually innovating their ideas and working towards goals set out in a business plan.
Look to create milestones for your business. Success is rarely delivered overnight, with some goals achieved faster than others, or some being reliant on others being previously met.
Be realistic. Your ambition and passion may not be reflected in the market or customer demand. Make sure that your goals are based on good market understanding and if possible, benchmarks with similar businesses operating in your field.
How to achieve success in business
As a business owner, there are steps you can undertake to create the foundations of a successful business. One of the most important first steps is to research the market and determine what type of customer you are targeting. What is their ‘persona’ such as gender, age, location, income levels to name a few. What are their buying preferences; going into a shop, buying on-line or contacted by telephone.It is also important to know where you stand compared to the competition. Check their products and services, website, social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, etc.), mission and vision. Set where you will be different and if this is enough for people to switch their custom to your business.
- It is sensible to build a business plan, which can be adapted according to the growth and development of your business.
This can be daunting for many people who have limited business experience. But the list below will structure your thoughts and ideas in the right way:
- Summarise why the business has come into being. Why is your product service different? What gap are you filling in the market? Why bring it to market now? Give top level goals for the first 2-3 years: number of customers, sales and revenue. Also how many staff and the rest of the cost base, leading to your profit levels. If you need funding, it is sensible to make this clear up front.
- Detail the customer lifecycle - take it step by step: How they become aware of the product, e.g. advertising. How they consider the purchase, can they try it before they buy? When they are ready to purchase, how do they do this - go into a shop / buy on-line? As customers become fans of your product, how do you get them to tell others, e.g rating your service and referring a friend?
- How will your product be developed and distributed? Provide details of the business skills needed to take the service to market - are they present, do you need to hire new talent such as a sales team or production workers? Are any IT systems, apps or software needed - do you need to create these or procure them?
- What is the addressable market for your product? Provide a clear estimate (using published data) of the potential customer audience. Don’t say everyone! If consumers, then break it down into demographics; age, gender, income levels, etc. If businesses are your target market, what is the size of that business or industry sector they operate in?
Sales and Marketing
- What is your go-to-market-strategy? How will you price your service to be competitive? How will it be promoted (social media / word of mouth / advertising etc), How will you deliver the product - electronically (using an e-commerce store) or physically (delivery vans or retail) - or a combination of both?
- Does your product stand up against the competition? Do a SWOT analysis. Look at your business Strengths and Weaknesses (these are internal facing). Balance these with the Opportunities for your business and the Threats it faces (these are external facing). What market share do you expect to secure over time?
- Where possible, apply the business skills and expertise you may have developed over time. If you have a gap in your knowledge, there are great learning guides on the Internet, you may also look to tie up with a mentor - a friend or family member can provide valuable insight. Bring on new members to a management team that fill a clear skills gap and share the ambitions of the business.
- How will your business make money? Is it one time sale or recurring fees? This will lead to your revenue line - usually stated for each month. Then calculate your cost base: raw materials, staff, premises, distribution, sales commissions, finance costs and advertising. The difference between the two is your profit. Look to predict 2-3 years out in your forecasts, with a realistic growth prediction.
- Organisation is key to a successful business. Creating lists of everything you have to do each day will ensure you stay on top of your tasks which help the operation of the business. There are many free online tools, such as Trello or Monday that you can find online and use with your team.
- When running a business you need to be creative. Always be looking for new ideas, approaches and ways to improve your business. Consider using digital marketing tools and write a marketing strategy.
- Stay focused on your short-term and long-term goals laid out in your business plan and be patient as you work towards achieving them.
- Hiring internationally allows your business to have a multicultural and efficient team, growing your talent pool and increasing the perspectives within the workspace. If you want to learn more about recruiting internationally, you can read our blog post ‘What You Need to Know when Recruiting Talent from Overseas’.
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If you were wondering how to run a successful business, we hope this article has been helpful in outlining ways you can follow to make sure your business is successful and what assets you can acquire to be a successful business owner.
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We have put together an FAQs section with the most often asked questions regarding how to run your business successfully.
- How to be a successful business
In order to be a successful business you’ll need assets such as organisation and creativity to make sure you have a business plan with attainable goals and can implement new ideas and approaches to achieve these targets. You must also have a good understanding of the risks and rewards of business and how you can utilise these to grow your business. Providing excellent service to customers as well as other businesses is crucial, as it means they’ll be more likely to use your business again.
Before starting a business you’ll need to conduct market research; analysing the market is key to understanding where your business will fit and what you can provide which businesses that have already been established do not. Make sure you create a business plan with goals you know you want to achieve and leave room for adapting this plan as your business grows. After creating your business plan you can register your business. You may need to check whether you need licences, permits and insurance.
- How can I run a business successfully from the start?
To run a business successfully from the start you’ll need a business plan which lays out how you will run your business day to day, the structure of your business and any goals for the company which you want to achieve. Adequate planning will give your business the structure it needs to get off to a good start. Also, choosing a name for your business can be difficult, but make sure you choose a name which is unique and reflects the brand you want to put out there as it is usually the first thing potential customers will see.
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